General Question

flo's avatar

Does a person decide to sue the city or just learn to wear anti-slip footwear etc., in future?

Asked by flo (12974points) February 2nd, 2018

One lawyer says that what caused the fall on the sidewalk is not wearing an anti-slip footwear accessory, look at all the other people who didn’t fall, everyone except newcomers to the country, city, ...knows about the climate, ... And the opposing lawyer says what?

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24 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

The opposing lawyer might say, “she was wearing rubber soled shoes that are more than adequate except in hazardous areas such as the extra slippery slick sidewalk that was not marked as slippery. The city is negligent for using materials like this for a sidewalk knowing the local weather would make it slippery”.

ragingloli's avatar

That is like saying that a shooting victim is at fault for not wearing a ballistic vest.

flo's avatar

To add to what a city’s lawyer would say “Were you reading texts, just not paying extra attention in general?” Again why didn’t all the other people that you see in the video not fall, if it were the city’s fault?

@zenvelo “sidewalk that was not marked as slippery.”??
@ragingloli Those 2 things don’t seem comparable to me. I’ll return to explain why.

flo's avatar

“...she was wearing rubber soled shoes that are more than adequate except in hazardous areas such as the extra slippery slick sidewalk”???

KNOWITALL's avatar

Guarantee that weather will get the city off the hook. She should have taken precautions in bad weather, as a defense.

janbb's avatar

The person would probably sue the owner of the store the sidewalk is in front of for not de-icing it and the city potentially as well. It’s quite likely they would get some kind of settlement. “Slip and falls” are never based on the fact that other people didn’t slip and fall. A cousin of mine broke her ankle on ice on a train and was able to successfully sue for damages. This is partly what liability insurance is for.

Zaku's avatar

What sort of deadly slippery city are we talking about?

seawulf575's avatar

I think the argument would be that the city cannot dictate what people wear and they did not make adequate awareness or recommendations. I don’t necessarily agree with that assessment, but that would probably be the rebuttal.

flo's avatar

@ragingloli The difference between shot bullet proof vest and the anti slip footwear/accesssory is slipping on ice is predictable. Wearing your gloves/mittens so you don’t get frost bite, if you don’t you don’t sue anyone. People know ahead of time what would happen, weather report or no weather report. @KNOWITALL I agree with you.
@Zaku this is just a hypothethical case.

@seawulf575 The weather people give out the report tons of times a day. It’s going to be very icy, ....days ahead of time.

flo's avatar

@janbb This hypothetical case is about a city property not a property of a store owner.
And some people fall even when there’s no ice or a banana peel or…Then who is going to be sued? I didn’t realize even walking requires a certain amount of attention.

flo's avatar

@seawulf575 So, even if the city doesn’t dictate what they wear people wear the right outfit head to toe just so they’ll still be able to earn a living, play with their kids and not end up in a hospital and end up catching MRSA or something.

janbb's avatar

The onus is on the owner of the property, whether city or private, to clear the ice, not on the citizen to wear crampons.

Zaku's avatar

@flo Ok… but I would say that the argument the hypothetical opposing lawyer should make, should be about the details of that hypothetical case. If a city is to be held accountable for someone falling and hurting themselves, then it seems to me that the city should have failed to do something that it can reasonably be expected to be responsible for, that led a reasonable person to fall and hurt themselves.

To me, that should need to involve negligence on the city’s part, and not negligence or foolishness on the faller’s part, and not just bad luck, either. Because a city government should not (to my mind) be responsible for making the city entirely accident-free and danger-free. It just should not create needless danger, or mislead people that something dangerous is safe, or create hazards that reasonable people might be completely surprised by.

For example, I once wore dress shoes to a formal event in a city where there were concrete stairs and walkways between the event an nearby parking, and it rained. I learned that dress shoes can have slick tractionless bottoms with near-zero traction on web concrete. I am not about to sue anyone about that. I’m just not going to wear shoes like that again, or if I do, I’ll be extremely careful about where I walk in them, or glue something with traction to their soles. I think those soles are dumb and dangerous, but I’m not going to sue to the shoe company nor the city about it.

flo's avatar

@Zaku what misleading the public? You mean announcing “don’t worry about the ice, (no need to wear anti slip) we’ve used salt ..”?

@janbb What if the person is looking up in the sky or the smartphone etc. and there is salt or something on the ice and the person is not wearing an anti slip wear…?

seawulf575's avatar

@flo You asked what the opposing attorney would argue. You didn’t ask if we felt the city were at fault in some way. My personal feeling is that, as you pointed out, people need to be accountable for their own actions. If a person wants to wear smooth bottom shoes on icy sidewalks and they slip and fall, I really have a hard time blaming someone else.

flo's avatar

@seawulf575 I understand.

flo's avatar

I’ve edited my post before last…

Response moderated (Spam)
Zaku's avatar

@flo I was thinking more along the lines of providing specific walkways or stairs or roads that look quite safe but are actually dangerous even for able-bodied people in good conditions. Or providing what looks like a sturdy handrail that actually tends to fall apart and lead people to fall.

But not things like having any place at all that is steep that someone could fall down. Or having a sturdy handrail but one that is possible to climb over. Or having train tracks that someone could lie down on. Or having trees which make sidewalks uneven. Those are all things that I have seen cities take what I would consider over-reactions to with the stated reason that they wish to avoid accidents and liability, but I think it would be inappropriate to award liability damages to people who go fall down obvious cliffs, climb over handrails, lie down on rails, or try to go over bumpy sidewalks when challenged by such bumps.

flo's avatar

@Zaku Ok. But those are different kinds of things I think.

Zaku's avatar

@flo What things are different from what other things? If your mean my previous post, and that the things in the first paragraph are different kinds of things from the things in the second paragraph, then yes, that would be my point (i.e. that I think the city should be liable only for safety issues that the government itself creates that would tend to endanger a reasonable person, not for all hazards that might happen to exist within its limits, or that are hazardous when combined with problematic behavior).

flo's avatar

@Zaku I meant that my OP is only referring to icy roads, sidewalks, salt/ gravel, footwear/accesories. Some people say something like (rephrasing) I shouldn’t have to wear proper footwear, at all because I pay taxes.

flo's avatar

every part of the sidewalk road should be free of ice at any given time, I pay enough taxes.

But you’re right, they’re not different kinds of things city property is city property.

Zaku's avatar

@flo Oh I see, I finally get the context now, thanks.

So, if it weren’t already clear enough, I’d say I side with the first lawyer. I don’t think any city can/should be liable to keep every surface free from ice at all times, no matter what amount of taxes are paid, because that’s an unrealistic expectation.

And to then answer your original question, (IANAL but) I would think the opposing lawyer would probably be trying to build a case from the specific wording of various laws that could somehow add up to saying technically such liability exists. (But it’s the kind of suit I like to think should be rejected and not even heard by the courts, unless for the purpose of correcting that possible misapplication.)

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